ACPNJ Advocacy Update

November 2, 2023


ACPNJ is actively advocating for the continuation of equitable payment for telemedicine services during the upcoming lame duck session in Trenton. A 2-year temporary authorization for pay parity authorized in 2021 is due to sunset on December 31, 2023, unless the NJ Legislature and Governor Murphy take action.

The use of telemedicine has become an essential part of the health care infrastructure, but prior to 2021 state regulated health plans, including commercial and public plans, were able to pay physicians and health care providers at rate that was less than what is paid for an in-person visit. Over the last two years, payment for telemedicine has been paid at the same rate as an in-person visit and patients have become accustomed to the level of access to telemedicine pay parity has allowed.

ACP-NJ is working to educate the Legislature on this immediate need to avoid the sunset of pay parity and advocating to protect patient access to telemedicine services by passing legislation by December 31, 2023.

A bill has been drafted and will be introduced by Assemblyman Conaway and Senator Gopal after the November elections.  There will only be about 5-6 weeks to get the bill introduced, passed and on Governor Murphy’s desk. The sponsors have already spoken publicly about this being a top priority for them in lame duck (see article below)

ACP-NJ is working with other physician specialty organizations and other health care providers, including hospitals, to get this done during lame duck.

Keep an eye on emails from ACP-NJ if we require members to contact their legislators and Governor to support this legislation.  For more information contact Dr. Lisa Cerceo at or ACP-NJ’s government affairs counsel, Claudine Leone, at


Push for permanent telehealth pay parity expected during lame duck

By Daniel Han

Telehealth pay parity makes reimbursement rates for telehealth services equal to in-person appointments, an option that became popular during the Covid-19 pandemic. | AFP via Getty Images

Legislation to make telehealth pay parity permanent is expected to emerge during the lame duck period, according to two Democratic lawmakers who said they would sponsor the bill.

A proposal on telehealth pay parity does not come as a surprise. In 2021 Gov. Phil Murphy conditionally vetoed telehealth pay parity legislation, with the legislature approving his recommendations to have parity until the end of 2023 while the state Department of Health studies its effectiveness. Telehealth pay parity makes reimbursement rates for telehealth services equal to in-person appointments, an option that became popular during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Department of Health is months late in delivering the study, with state contract records suggesting it may come in mid-December — just around half a month before parity expires.

Now, lawmakers are faced with either allowing telehealth payment parity to expire by the end of the year, temporarily extending it, or make the reimbursement parity permanent — the last of which is being pushed by Assembly Health Chair Herb Conaway (D-Burlington) and state Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth). The two are working together on the expected legislation.

Conaway called it a “priority item” for the lame duck session.

“It's straightforward – not making a lot of big changes here,” he said in an interview. “We're not talking about a complicated piece of legislation. The heavy lifting has been done with respect to the basics of [telehealth]. This is a question of extending the timeline to make sure the loss of the important service does not come to pass.”

“In my view, I can't understand why there would be any time limitation on an experiment that's clearly working,” Conaway added.

Gopal said in an interview that telehealth pay parity was his “number one priority” for the lame duck session. Thousands of people benefitted from virtual health care options during the height of the pandemic for mental health service and parity was needed to ensure access to care continued, he said.

“If we don’t get this done, tens of thousands of people will see their services … lapsed,” he said.

Gopal and Conaway were both prime sponsors of the telehealth legislation pushed during the last session that would have made payment parity permanent.

Support for payment parity does not fall along party lines. The original bill last session passed without a single “no” vote and a similar telehealth pay parity proposal, S846, was introduced by state Sen. Kristin Corrado (R-Passaic) earlier this legislative session.

The governor, however, has expressed concerns over cost and over-utilization of telehealth in the long term.

“While I wholeheartedly support expanding telehealth and telemedicine access and believe that New Jersey should be a national leader in innovative health care policy, I have reservations about making permanent a measure that was intended as a stopgap to preserve public health during an unprecedented emergency,” Murphy said in his conditional veto message in 2021.

“To start, approving this bill would amount to a very heavy thumb on the scale in favor of providers vis-à-vis carriers, in an area traditionally left to private negotiations. Moreover, the cost to carriers — which would be felt both by those paying premiums and taxpayers alike — could be substantial.”

It is unclear if the governor still has those concerns after two years of payment parity.

“We want to make pay parity permanent,” Gopal said in an interview. “We know the results over the past two years have been overwhelmingly successful.”